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Briefs (left)

British Court Hears Of
Qaida Plans For ‘Black Day’

By Alan Cowell

A prosecutor told a court here Monday that Dhiren Barot, the most senior operative of al-Qaida known to have been captured here, had plotted “a memorable black day for the enemies of Islam” by killing “hundreds if not thousands of innocent people” in Britain and the United States.

Barot was arrested in Britain with seven others in August 2004, after a major security alert in the United States.

He pleaded guilty in October to a charge of conspiracy to murder.

The potential targets included the New York Stock Exchange, the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund in Washington and, in London, a subway train as it traveled under the Thames. Other alleged targets included Citigroup in Manhattan and the Prudential building in Newark, N.J., prosecutors have said.

He could face life in prison when two days of pre-sentencing hearings conclude Tuesday. He is also wanted in the United States.

Big Bonuses
Anticipated on Wall St.

By Jenny Anderson

On Wall Street, the rich keep getting richer.

For a fourth consecutive year, year-end bonuses are forecast to be very lucrative, with the payouts rising 10 percent to 15 percent from 2005, according to Alan Johnson Associates, a leading executive compensation consultant.

Investment bankers, who give advice to corporations, are expected to experience the biggest percentage jump, about 20 percent to 25 percent this year, from 2005.

But it will again be the traders who make investment bets for their firms and those who operate in the complex world of structured products and derivatives that will take home the biggest checks this year, with top-end estimates in the range of $40 million to $50 million, say Wall Street executives.

“Traders are making more than bankers and that will probably continue for one more year,” Alan Johnson, the managing director of the consultant firm, said. “Then it will be a horse race.”

Appeals Court Weighs Prisoners’
Right to Fight Detention

By Neil A. Lewis

The Bush administration’s successful effort to have Congress eliminate the right of Guantanamo prisoners to challenge their detentions before federal judges is now moving toward what may be an epic battle in the courts.

And while lawsuits on the topic are spread across the judiciary, the principal battleground, legal experts say, is the federal appeals court in Washington. The U.S. Court of Appeals has been considering for three years whether the hundreds of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have the right of habeas corpus — that is, the ability to ask a federal judge to review the reasons for their detention.

But the law passed by Congress last month eliminating the habeas right supersedes almost all of the arguments that have gone before and is now the focus of the legal confrontation, government and civil liberties lawyers agree. In a ruling last June, the Supreme Court had said that an earlier measure did not eliminate habeas lawsuits that were already in the courts. However, in October, the administration used more explicit language, saying the new law retroactively blocked federal courts from entertaining habeas lawsuits by Guantanamo detainees.